Three individuals who have dedicated years to increasing awareness and support of agricultural education and FFA while building FFA alumni programs at local, state and national levels were honored at the 86th National FFA Convention & Expo.
The National FFA Alumni Association’s Outstanding Achievement Award honors individuals each year who work to promote, serve and support agricultural education and FFA. Recipients volunteer their time and talents to encourage people at the local, state and national levels to get involved with FFA alumni efforts and activities.
Jim East of Georgia, Sherry Kiel of Michigan and James Grasee of Wisconsin were this year’s award winners.
East was the driving force in creating the Miller County FFA Alumni affiliate. In five years as executive director, he grew membership from 25 to 178 members and gained recognition for the affiliate at the national level for outstanding affiliate applications and scrapbooks. He later served as a member of the group’s executive council. Today, he serves on the Georgia FFA Alumni Council and was past president of the group. He also served three years as an at-large member on the National FFA Alumni Association Council, notably helping to reactivate the Alabama FFA Alumni Association.
When a local FFA chapter was in danger of being cut, Kiel worked diligently with school officials to prevent the chapter’s demise. Throughout her state, she has assisted FFA chapters in establishing new FFA alumni affiliates. Kiel is continually advocating for the inclusion of career and technical education into Michigan’s curriculum guidelines. She has served as a delegate to the National FFA Alumni Association Convention and led her state’s efforts to host the National FFA Alumni Development Conference in 2014.
Grasee has volunteered for years to gain awareness and support for FFA throughout Wisconsin. He served two terms on the Denmark FFA Alumni board and led efforts to build a greenhouse on school grounds for its agricultural education program. He coordinated the chapter’s annual food drive and chaperoned FFA members to various community events. He also served as an executive finance committee member for the Wisconsin FFA Alumni Association and has attended numerous state FFA sectional meetings and conventions. During a recent national convention, Grasee chaperoned 15 students from Denmark and helped secure items for the National FFA Alumni Association’s silent auction.